Langkawi: Into the woods so much fun

SINGAPORE, 24 September 2019: Africa’s animal kingdom has the “Big Five” and Langkawi the “Flying Five”. It makes this forested haven special. Plus the forest also enjoys UNESCO Global Geopark status.

This fascinating UNESCO Global Geopark, in the heart of Langkawi reminds us that we are visiting a diverse destination that’s steeped in millions of years of natural history. Its magnificent forests invite us with the promise;“Into the woods has never been this much fun”.

Hpaper’s editorhad scheduled for the Jungle Walk early morning at Darulaman Sanctuary, 226 acres of rainforest perfect for trekking and birdwatching. Not just well endowed with archaeological treasures, Langkawi also teems with wildlife and is home to over 200 bird species, of which Darulaman has already spotted 78 since opening in May 2018.

“Africa has the Big Five, right? Langkawi has the Flying Five: the flying lemur, flying squirrel, flying lizard, flying fox, and flying snake—don’t worry if you get bitten, it’ll just be a fever for a few days,” said Fendi, sailing ahead with the clunky scope on his shoulder.

The 29-year-old lead guide Hpaper’s editor all hyped up each time his ears perked up to a rustle up in the trees.

And right now standing outside the briefing room, having not even started on the trek proper, Hpaper team already spotted some birds. The mynas were a good two football fields away, tucked into a sea of green, perched on a single branch. This was just the beginning.

Like a man on a mission, Fendi explains how to start off the at the foot of Langkawi’s highest point (Gunung Raya), the 200 acres forest reserve in recent times closing off to vehicles after families on picnics not only caused pollution but chased away wildlife too. Today, the hilly area is thriving once more, with Darulaman offering 10 treks catering to all levels of interest, hiking capabilities, and even team building packages.

Hpaper team stop at a group of dusky leaf monkeys chattering above. Also learn how its babies are orange not just for parents’ quick identification, but also to fool predators into thinking they’re looking at a bright fruit or flower. Engrossed at the white rings around the adorable primates’ eyes, suddenly, the sound of a wreathed hornbill’s wings flaps mightily on trees, its white-tipped tail disappearing quickly into the trees.

Thereafter, it was a full-on visual funfair: banded marquis and dark posies fluttering busily, the Asian fairy-bluebird, flying lizard, giant black squirrel, greater racket-tailed drongo also making appearances as we trailed behind Fendi’s swift footsteps during such sightings. Happily, this visit marked a prime season for viewing migratory birds flocking over by the hundreds, spanning November to April. Still, Fendi assures Hpaper team that wildlife thrives in abundance in this million-year-old forest, which just means no one hike is ever the same.

Hpaper team reach the waterfalls to break for sandwiches and drinks, butterflies dancing around. Fendi enthrals the team with the ‘sexy son hypothesis’—how in birds’ evolution, females pick ‘sexy’ partners with good genes so she not only increases her chance for male offspring but for her child to inherit his dad’s attractiveness too. Because like how she picked her mate, a plain-looking kid will have trouble mating in future. “It sounds sexist, but it’s crucial for survival,” Fendi explains.

Just as Hpaper Team completed the 2km trail, an oriental pied hornbill flies teasingly in the sky, Fendi swiftly grabbing the photographer’s lens in hopes for a good photo. “I hope more people will look at Langkawi’s other face,” the soft-spoken guide suddenly shares. “Most tourists head to the mangroves, why not here at this ecosystem we don’t fully understand yet? How does it sustain our lives? Which herbs help mankind? Hpaper Team even has a night walk to seek out the nocturnal animals. There’s a long path to sharing on nature.

Darulaman Sanctuary
Lubuk Semilang, 07000 Langkawi, Kedah Darul Aman
Tel +604 9558 080

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